On planning for the future

Growing up, I looked up to a lot of heroes for motivation, and Steve Jobs is one such inspirational hero for me. He was influential to a lot of the values I hold true today. I had read his autobiography – multiple times – and I think it is one of the best books I've read. I wish I had been able to be join Apple while he was still around, to work with him, and experience the reality distortion field™ in person.

Most of the conversation I have with my friends and family would generally contain topics of what my ideas are, and how I plan to achieve them. They are interest in what my values are, how I make decisions. Usually I end up paraphrasing things that I've before, to others.

I want to summarize some of the principles I hold, as best as I could. Hopefully I don't forget too much.

Principles

On What You Should Do

In the FB post, I talked about two principles (that help decide what you should do).

  1. Do the things that inspire you, that you love, and
  2. try to be really good at it, hopefully having commitment and courage to do it.

Let me elaborate on this, and then talk about some additional principles for how to get you to the goals you want.

Firstly, by doing the things that inspire you and that you love, this results in personal satisfaction. It's very important, because it keeps you motivated for when the problems get tough – and there are going to be a lot of tough problems.

Anything worth doing is going to be difficult.

Of course, the assumption is that these things that you do are going to be creating value; whether it be for yourself or others. Just don't use this as an excuse for binge playing video games, or binge watching Netflix.

Secondly, trying to be really good at it is important for you to create something of value. It's important to have both breadth and depth – and being good at something gives you depth, a competitive edge over others.

Sure, there may be others that are smarter than you. But they have only 24 hours in a day, just as you do. So that places a limit on what others can possibly do, during their spare time. You don't have to be the smartest to have a competitive edge – it's sufficient to excel at skill, albeit seemingly small.

Commitment and courage are other necessary conditions to developing the skill necessary. You should already have the motivation and desire to pursuit something you like doing; whether it be solving a problem or becoming really good in a skill.

The second point complements the first.

These two principles are just about sufficient to be a guide on how to decide what to do, what your next target is, but not how to get there.

On How To Get There

Now that the objectives have been set, what determines the success of it is how to get there.

  1. Manage your free time. We all have 24 hours, how that time is spent that really matters.
    • Identify things that you should invest your time in, in order to reap the fruits of your labor.
    • But also balance life and work. Allocate your most valuable resource, your time, well – with significant others, working out, even video games. The important concept is moderation. For example, watching a season of Netflix is probably no use to getting to your goal.
  2. Read more. Non-fiction. On topics that immediately relevant to you.
    • The value of information depends on context. If I told you what the stock price of some company would be in the future, that would be very valuable; on the other hand, stock price in the past is less valuable.
    • Knowledge is key. Sharing knowledge is also key. Don't forget about your peers.
    • Reading can give you a head start, often what your peers cannot obtain. Compared to others, you are making more informed decisions, better strategies and tactics. Against competition, even the smallest leverage or advantage makes a difference.
  3. Build projects. Develop your skills.
    • But don't work in isolation. Get feedback to improve faster.
    • Success and failure doesn't matter as much; there are things to be learnt even within failures.
  4. Network with others, build your connections.
    • The brain's neurons work with others to achieve a common goal. A single neuron can't achieve much on its own. As I said earlier, anything worth doing is going to be difficult. And difficult things need more resources to be tackled.
    • In machine learning, a neural network is inspired by the neuron architecture. When you learn, you are making new connections; and when you practice, you are strengthening the connections.
    • A strong network makes you better informed, helps you get relevant information quicker, creates more opportunities.
  5. Start today, rather than tomorrow.
    • Why is today such a good place to start? Starting today gives you a head start than starting tomorrow. And since you didn't start yesterday, then today is the optimal day.
    • Take a small step, begin by just doing a little. Great accomplishments don't happen overnight. Great Wall of China wasn't built in a day.

That's all for now folks. Thanks for reading!

PS:

I'm writing this while at the Starbucks on El Camino Real near my house, and coffee's power is fading. I will try to contribute and share knowledge more often.

If you found this blog to be useful, let me know! My email is jason@sunapi386.ca and Facebook is https://www.facebook.com/sunapi386 – feel free to contact me.

Music: Driftmoon.

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